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And a Bon Matin to You

This morning, two good thoughts—written independently, but really of a piece—about yesterday’s very large win by petition Trustee candidate Stephen Smith.

Ned Kenney, a freshman, writes, “Four petition candidates have been elected to the Board. A constitution designed to smother future outsiders’ chances of success was shot to smitherines. President Wright, is the writing not on the wall?”

And David Nachman, a sophomore, writes, “This election wasn’t another victory in some conservative revolution. I refuse to believe that 55% of alumni want a radical return to the past. Instead, this is another warning to the administration, perhaps the strongest yet. Those voters have lost faith in the direction of the college and want a trustee who will question the adminstration rather than giving them free reign.”

Neither of these fellows—I know them both—is especially conservative; David is decidedly liberal. But they both have that same critical steer that forbids them accepting the tawdry conceit that says one candidate is conservative and another is liberal, and that’s all you need to know. In reality, it is about the issues.

Which brings me nicely to one more point. In science, one deals with experimental variables and control variables. The latter are held constant while one experimental variable is adjusted. In this election, the status quo candidate was a political conservative, just like the reformist petition candidate. Conservatism was controlled for. The variable at play was status quo versus reform. Reform won.


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